Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Champions of Europe 2009 - Barcelona or Manchester United??

Had it been a dry day on the 21st of May 2008 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, the 2008 UEFA Champions League Winner would have been Chelsea and not Manchester United.

But it was raining quite heavily on that day of the final between the 2 English giants.

The score after extra time was dead-locked at 1-1. Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier scored for Man U in the 26th minute before Frank Lampard equalised for Chelsea in the 45th. minute.

In the deciding penalty shoot out - John Terry stepped out as Chelsea's 5th and last penalty taker. The penalty score at that moment was 4-4 and in favour of Chelsea after Cristiano Ronaldo shot as 3rd penalty taker for Man U was saved by Peter Cech. Man U had taken all the penalty kicks.

Had John Terry converted the penalty, Chelsea would have been crowned Champion of Europe for the 1st ever time. But John Terry slipped due to the slippery condition of the pitch after the downpour. He sliiped at the very crucial moment, just before he unleashed a right foot shot. Man U goalkeeper - Erwin Van Der Sar dived at the wrong way to his right. but he ball went wide to the left.



It was devastating for Terry and Chelsea. Manchester United went on to convert the extra 2 penalty kicks and won the 2008 Champions League after Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka shot was saved by Peter Cech.

John Terry, his Chelsea team-mates, manager Avram Grant, and millions of Chelsea fans around the globe had at least 1 month of sleepless nights.

While Manchester United fans are still jubilating until now.

At the 2008 final, it was not only historic because an English side versus an English side but also because there were 3 Michaels playing - Michael Ballack and Michael Essien for Chelsea and Michael Carrick for Man U.

There were many England internationals playing against each other such as Man U's Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves, Phil Neville, Wayne Rooney, Wes Brown, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick against Chelsea's John Terry, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.

And Didier Drogba was sent off after an altercation with several Manchester United players which was started by Carlos Tevez.

Now, who will win the final tonight in Rome. Barcelona or the defending champion - Manchester United..?

Both teams had been crowned as champions of the domestic league, this year.

Man U become the English Champion for a record 18th time while Barcelona was also crowned champion of the La Liga, the Spanish League for a record 19 times!!!!

Man U won the Champions League 3 times in 1968, 1999 and 2008 while Barcelona did it in 1992 and 2006.

If Man U win tonight, they will create history as the first Club to win back to back title in 19 years.

The last time was in 1989 and 1990 when the great AC Milan side, powered by the fearsome Dutch Trio - Ruud Gullit, Frank Rikjard and Marco Van Basten won the title twice in a row.

Apart from AC Milan, 4 other teams achieved the unique double champion feat.

Liverpool in 1977 and 1978, Benfica in 1961 and 1962, Inter Milan in 1964 and 1965 and another former English Giants - Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980 - but now Nottingham Forest is doomed and seems lost in oblivion.

But 2 teams managed to win the title as Champions of Europe - 3 times in a row - Ajax Amsterdam and Bayern Munich.


Dutch Maestro - Johan Cruyff

The great Ajax Amsterdam in the 1970s, marshalled by the legendary Dutch maestro, Johan Cruyff won the title in 1971, 1972 and 1973.

After Cruyff left Ajax for Barcelona in the end of the 1973 season, Ajax waited 22 more years before once again winning the Champions League in 1995.

Apart from helping Holland reached 2 successive World Cup Finals in 1972 and 1978 where they lost to Germany and Argentina respectively, Crufyy, during his time at FC Barcelona, scored one of his most famous goals, The 'Phantom' Goal.



In a game against Atlético Madrid Cruyff leapt into the air, (the goal at 2 min 44 secs in this video) twisted his body so he was facing away from the goal and kicked the ball past Miguel Reina in the Atlético Madrid goal with his right heel (the ball was at about neck height and had already traveled past the far post), the goal was featured in the documentary En un momento dado in which fans of Cruyff attempted to recreate that moment, the goal has been dubbed Le but d'Imposible de Cruyff (Cruyff's impossible goal).



Gerd Muller "Der Bomber"

Bayern Munich, spearheaded by the greatest German striker of all time, Gerd Muller nicknamed Der Bomber, won the European Cup 3 times in a row in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

But none can beat Real Madrid phenomenal and beyond comparison 5 successive Champions League / European Cup titles in a row in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960.


Alfredo D'Stefano

Argentina's legendary Alfredo D'Stefano, Spain's Rial and Marquitos and Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas combined to form the world's greatest football club of all time.

Real Madrid demolished every single team in that era and won the domestic league and the European titles easily.

The highlight was their 7-3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden Park, a game many consider to be the finest exhibition of club football ever witnessed in Europe.

With 10 goals scored, it was the highest scoring ever in a European Cup final. Puskas scoring 4 goals and D'Stefano scoring a hattrick..!!!



Now back to the 21st century, so who will win the 2009 Champions league final? My bet is Barcelona.

They have more fire power both in the domestic league and the Champions League.

In the La Liga, Barcelona scored more than 100 goals on their way to winning their 19th Spanish league champion titles.

By contrast, their nearest title challenger - 2nd place Real Madrid only managed 82 goals.

In of the most memorable Spanish league match of all time, Real Madrid was humiliated 2-6 by Barcelona in their own turf, this season!!!

In total, Barcelona scored 104 goals in 37 La Liga matches, an average of 2.8 goals per match.


Lionel Messi

Their fearsome strike force of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Samuel Etoo and Andres Iniesta contributed to that overwhelming number of goals.



This season in the La Liga, Samuel Etoo, Barceona's Cameroonian striker scored 29 goals, Lionel Messi, the Argentinian prodigy and successor of Diego Maraddona scored 23 goals while French great - Thiery Henry scored 19 goals.

So Etoo, Messi and Henry, altogether scored 71 goals this season..!!!!! And that is a big headache for Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and co..!!!!

The number of goals might as well further increase as Barcelona has a final Spanish league match against Deportivo La Caruna on 31st May 2009.



Like Maraddona, Lionel Messi had scored many fantastic solo goals for his country and his club. This is a solo goal by him in an international match, Argentina vs Colombia.



This was among Lionel Messi best ever goal, against Getafe. The goal is being compared to Diego Maradonna's great solo goal against England in the 1986 World Cup Quarterfinal.


Diego Maradonna's goal of the century, Argentina 2-1 England, World Cup quarterfinal 1986 in Mexico.

Even without the influential Ronaldinho and Deco who were sold to AC Milan and Chelsea respectively last season, Barcelona still looks like Barcelona, lethargic and dangerous and hungry for goals.

In Defence, Barcelona only let in 34 goals or 0.9 goal per match.

Hail to Carlos Puyol and the gang for the solid defence.

In their road to the final of 2009 Champions League - Barcelona scored 30 goals, including the 5-1 aggregate win over Bayern Munich.

Manchester United by contrast only scored 68 goals in the 38 matches played in the English Premier League, or on average 1.8 goals per match.


Cristiano Ronaldo remains their top goal poacher this season in the league with 18 goals, followed by Wayne Rooney with 12 goals and Dimitar Berbatov - 9 goals.

Man U Argentinian striker, Carlos Tevez only managed a modest 5 goals.

In Defence, Rio Ferdinand and co, had a better record than Puyol and co, having only leaked 24 goals or 0.6 goal per match.



Man U scored a total of 18 goals on their way to the 2009 Champions League final.



It is interesting to see Barca's Lionel Messi against Man U's World and European Footballer of the Year - Cristiano Ronaldo.



Both are gifted and both are very skillful.

But My Say - Barca will prevail.... Barcelona deserved to be crowned King of Europe!!

Sorry Man U fans, but i am a Liverpool hardcore grass root die hard fan..!!

5 comments:

=chuan guan= said...

NAH! all da way for Man Utd!!!!!!!!

bebek said...

sorry chuan guan - But Cristiano Ronaldo, Tevez, Berbatov and Rooney all drew blank against Barca!!!

Haro Genki said...

Barca!!

bebek said...

Haro Genki - but i am a Liverpool fans - Hail to the Reds, Pride of Merseyside, Star of England, 2005 King of Europe...!! You will never walk alone!!

bebek said...

Haro Genki - but i am a Liverpool fans - Hail to the Reds, Pride of Merseyside, Star of England, 2005 King of Europe...!! You will never walk alone!!

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